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Abnormally Born

Abnormally Born

Words of Faith 7-31-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 15

     [7] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, [8] and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

   [9] For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. [10] But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. [11] Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

 

       As Paul moved toward a conclusion to his first letter to the Corinthians, he reflected humbly on the unusual nature of his testimony and ministry. While Paul argued strongly for his credential as an Apostle in many places, here he confessed that he was the least deserving of any title.

       Paul attributed his new birth to an encounter with the resurrected Christ (Acts 9:3-6; 22:6-11) but he viewed himself as one "abnormally born". The term means literally "born of miscarriage" or tragically premature and without proper gestation, as one not supposed to live. That Saul, of all people, was born again was an absolute miracle. That Paul, the new creation in Christ, survived was yet another miracle.

       Paul felt totally undeserving the office of Apostle because he had been an opponent of the church which he now served. But Paul also realized that his past was simply a backdrop on which to display the grace of God. He was a perfect example of the incredible power of God to reach into the life of wretched sinner and, by grace, lift that sinner to glory.

       Paul also reflected on his part in that. "By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." Paul had worked hard, but he was always aware that it was the grace of God that had made him who he was and that grace was always at work within him.

       By grace, Paul worked harder than the rest. He had worked harder than any of the other apostles, as he traveled more, suffered more opposition, wrote more New Testament epistles, and founded more churches. Yet Paul knew and ministered with the recognition that it was not his power but God's which produced results.

       By grace, Paul found peace in exactly who he was as God shaped him. Paul did not imitate others or mimic their style. He was who he was as he cut the path of missionary life like no other and ministered in a manner not seen before.

       In the final analysis it was not the messenger but the message which was important. "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:17-18).

       The bottom line was the Gospel, the power of God. No matter where they had heard it, it was the Gospel that had changed the lives of the Corinthians, the message of the cross and the resurrection. "Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed." The truth is the truth. The Gospel is the Gospel. This is the foundation of your salvation.

       Have you received the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you been born anew by the Spirit of God through the message of the cross and the hope of resurrection? How is that grace continuing to shape you and work within you? We are what we are, only by that grace. We need not try to work harder than all the rest-- but we do need to surrender to the grace of God at work within us.

 

       Father God, I surrender to the magnificent work of Your grace. Mold me and shape me. Keep making me into the new creation that You have planned. Use me today for the purpose and cause of Your Kingdom. In Jesus' Name.

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2007, 2017

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)      

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.